Ah, summer. Time for vacations, lounging by the pool, and lazy days. When we were kids, the summer seemed endless. The days were long, and the start of a new school year seemed so far into the distance that we didn’t give it much thought.
For many educators, however, it’s been a tough year and it can be challenging to truly decompress. After giving so much of yourself in the classroom, however, it’s important that you take some quality “you time” so that you feel rested and ready to connect with a new crop of students come fall.
Check out these ideas for your down time:
Read for pleasure
Put aside the textbooks, instructional guides, or that middle grade novel you’re thinking about for your students—and pick up something just for you! Have fun with some sci fi or chick lit, or pick something out of your TBR (“to be read”) pile. If you’re not sure where to start, there are summer reading lists galore like this one from The Atlantic.
Enjoy the outdoors
Step outside of the four walls of your classroom and home. There’s truly nothing like the great outdoors to reduce anxiety and to boost your self-esteem. Wait… what? Yes, you read that right. Going outside has been proven to make you feel better about yourself, according to WebMD. Relaxed activities near water or green space are particularly beneficial. Now’s the time to work in the garden or fall asleep in a hammock. You can even try a Mindful Walk to heighten your awareness of your senses and the environment.
Connect with friends and family
Throughout the school year, you’ve been so focused on connecting with your students. Summer is the time to re-engage with the family and friends you’ve been wanting to catch up with. Why not get some exercise with a friend at the gym, go have coffee with a family member you’ve been meaning to see, or plan a fun outing at the beach with a group? You’ll feel a boost after time with loved ones.
There’s something about organization projects that can help you feel refreshed and ready to approach a new school year. Maybe you’ve been meaning to clean out your garage, organize your pantry, or donate some old clothes–you know, anything to Marie Kondo your life. Finishing some small projects you’ve been meaning to do if you just had more time will help to “spark joy” and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Give yourself a break
Ultimately, you should use your summer break to make yourself happy. Maybe some days you just want to catch up on sleep, binge watch a TV show, or grab lunch at that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. There’s no need to overschedule yourself. Down time should be down time. And if you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed by the school year you left behind?
You can check out this Along activity if you’re looking for a quick way to take a self-compassion break.
Whatever you choose to do this summer, we hope you enjoy yourself. Congratulations on finishing the 2021-2022 school year!